Friday, April 3, 2015

Journey to the Cross: Bringing Good Friday Service to my Children

Hello to my lil Easter bunnies, Bear & Nora,

I miss you both. And love you very much :)

I am writing because today is Good Friday and I wanted to take you to church with me for the special "Journey to the Cross" service. I did ask if you could come with, and the answer was no. So since I cannot take you to church with your brother & I physically, we will just have to visit another way :) 

The Bible does talk about the power, and purpose of people praying together. 
Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." 
Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." 
Psalms 50:5,"Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."

So I want to begin by saying I woke up this morning with the both of you in my heart, and in my prayers. I am so thankful to God that I am your mommy, and pray to be the best Mommy I can be. I am thankful for the wonderful kids you are. 

Bear, that you have such a kind heart to help others. You have a gift in science and math, and want to use those gifts to start a foundation to help people with charity and humanitarian projects, is just amazing. Bear, I remember when you were 5 years old, and we would read that science magazine. I remember how we were studying the different parts of a bone, and that we went to the grocery store to look at the cuts of meat, to see those parts. And then we made up that song "Break it off, bone!". "Break it off bone, got me movin' fast, break it off bone, I'm an osteoclast.." Osteoclasts are cells that break down bone. It was so funny because when they went to test you to enter kindergarten, they found that you knew subjects and things that were not even on the test.

Nora, you are such a beautiful girl, and truly a joy in my life. I remember the first time you went to daycare at just a few months old. The note I got back from the daycare said, "Nora is a joy". That is so true. Nora, I love that you write books and draw pictures. And am excited to see your talents grow. It makes me so proud that you are carrying this gift, because I also write books and poetry, and your Grandpa is a storyteller too. I grew up hearing tall tales from Grandpa, they are some of my fondest memories. Nora I think of you when I am shopping, and think of how you like to design clothes. I can't help but to buy cute jeans, baby tees and designer hoodies for you...maybe this way you won't be stealing the clothes from my closet (grin).

Belle also misses you, she is laying in front of me and purring right now (sits on my arms as I type!), sending love to you both.

So today is Good Friday. And what that means is that we honor, and remember, that Jesus went to the Cross to die for our sins. It doesn't sound like "good" news but it is because Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to die, in order to take away sin, the whole world was forever changed when Jesus gave his life to defeat evil. Good Friday tells us that God forgives us when we make a mistake, and that no matter how dark things may seem, there is always hope. Jesus was buried in the tomb and on the third day, which is Easter Sunday, He rose and went to heaven. In our family, this is a holy day, and we would be celebrating and going to church. I would read you the Bible, and we would learn about Good Friday together.

At church, there is a special worship called "Journey to the Cross". It is a service that takes you back into time, to Jerusalem, in the days leading up to Jesus death (Holy week). When you go to church, everyone is dressed up in clothes from Bible days -- robes, sandals, long head coverings and shawls for the women.  There are even Roman soldiers with spears and shields. 

There is a Jerusalem marketplace where you can play games that they played in Bible days, and you can look at and touch common objects from Bible days. 

The service takes you through all the events of Holy week and it is really cool because they have an electric piano on wheels, that rolls along so we can sing and praise the Lord.

We get to wave palms on Palm Sunday as Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey....

We get to share the Last Supper with Jesus and the Disciples

You can enjoy a traditional Passover meal of grape juice, bitters (herbs), salt water (to remember the tears shed) and unleavened bread. Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in the the Book of Exodus. On Passover, Jews also celebrate the birth of the Jewish nation after being freed by God from captivity.

You can see Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Disciples slept while he prayed

You can see Judas betray Jesus, and receive gold coins in exchange

The Roman soldiers come to arrest Jesus. You can feel a real crown of thorns and nails.

You can see the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Herod and his soldiers mock Jesus and he is found guilty, though innocent of any crime

Jesus carries the cross to Calvary. 1 John 4:9, "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him."

You can see Mary crying at the foot of the cross

And you can visit a replica of a tomb with a granite boulder to remember where Jesus was laid to rest. 

We go to church on Easter Sunday to remember the resurrection, when Jesus rose from the grave, and went to Heaven. 

-- Daylen Swift, 2015

Hallelujah! He is Risen! Matthew 28:6, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."

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